Top family hatchbacks

  • Need help choosing your next family hatchback?
  • We pick the best of the bunch for practicality and running costs
  • All petrol engines with five-doors

You have around £20,000 and you want a five-door family hatchback - which one do you buy?

There are so many cars to choose from that it can be a little overwhelming, but as always, Parkers is here to help.

We’ve named our favourite family hatchbacks, all in a middle trim level paired with a petrol engine and accompanied by the key features that make them stand out from the crowd.

Whether you’re after outright power, if safety is paramount, equipment is a priority or practicality is at the top of the list, we will help steer you towards the hatchback most suited for you and your family’s needs. 

So without further ado.

Honda Civic

Honda Civic


Best for: Practicality

Trim: 1.4 i-VTEC SE

Class-leading boot space is just one of the stand-out features of the Honda Civic when it comes to practicality. 

A massive 477 litres is on offer with the potential to increase to 1342 litres with the rear seats folded down. There is also an under-floor compartment available and the rear seats (or as Honda calls them ‘magic seats’) can be folded in an easy one step action.

It may not offer the most powerful engine in this list but running costs will be kept low thanks to an impressive fuel economy figure of 52mpg. Equipment levels are also good with climate control, 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights and a USB port among the highlights of the standard specification list.

Price: from £16,995

CO2 Emissions: 129g/km 

Fuel Economy: 52mpg 

Boot Space: 477 litres 

Power: 98bhp


Seat Leon

Seat Leon


Best for: Driving fun

Trim: 1.4 TSI SE

Fresh from a facelift earlier in the year, the new Leon has a new striking design and some impressive performance credentials as well as a high level of standard equipment .

Although the FR is typically known as the ‘performance’ car in the range, this 1.4 TSI engine offers admirably lusty performance with 138bhp available accompanied by a top speed of 131mph and a 0-62 time of 7.9 seconds. It handles very well too, which is why it's our drivers' choice.

The car also comes with three driving modes to suit your requirements: Eco, Normal and Sport.

Price: from £18,020

CO2 Emissions: 119g/km 

Fuel Economy: 54mpg 

Boot Space: 380 litres 

Power: 138bhp


Ford Focus


Ford Focus

Best for: Running Costs

Trim: Zetec 1.0 EcoBoost

Ford’s 1.0 EcoBoost engine has been a huge success for Ford, offering car buyers the chance to lower emissions without compromising on performance.

This petrol engine has a strong combined fuel economy figure of 56mpg and emissions of only 114g/km while still offering 123bhp. That is hard to beat even in this competitive sector. 

Impressive fuel economy means fewer trips to the petrol station and the low CO2 emissions keep tax costs to a minimum.

Price: from £17,795

CO2 Emissions: 114g/km 

Fuel Economy: 56mpg 

Boot Space: 316 litres 

Power: 123bhp


Volvo V40

Volvo V40


Best for: Safety

Trim: T2 SE 

The V40 is an appealing alternative to premium German rivals and offers impressive fuel economy, practicality and some headlining safety credentials - it's currently the safest car you can buy in the UK.

Packed full of the latest safety technology, the V40 also includes city safety, knee airbags, dual-stage driver and passenger airbags, curtain airbags, ABS, stability and traction control. The V40 is also the first car to debut a pedestrian airbag system. All this revolutionary safety kit helped the V40 to secure the highest overall Euro NCAP rating with a 98 percent adult occupant rating and a perfect score for safety assist.

Price: £20,520

CO2 Emissions: 124g/km 

Fuel Economy: 53mpg 

Boot Space: 402 litres 

Power: 118bhp


Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf


Best for: Comfort

Trim: SE BlueMotion Technology 1.4 TSI

The Volkswagen Golf is now in its seventh generation and has built an army of admirers over the years.

Yes it is more expensive than some other cars in the segment but for that extra cash you get a step up in interior quality and refinement. The quality of materials used around the cabin is excellent and the seats are comfortable making it an ideal travel companion.   

Thanks to a growth spurt in this latest generation there is more interior space on offer for front and rear passengers making for an even better journey.  

Price: £19,855

CO2 Emissions: 123g/km

Fuel Economy: 53mpg

Boot Space: 380 litres

Power: 120bhp


Audi A3 Sportback

Audi A3 Sportback

Best for: Luxury

Trim: SE 1.4 TFSI

One of the pricier hatchbacks available, the Audi A3 Sportback can almost reach £30,000 as a base price dependant on which trim you opt for.

Audi is synonymous with producing refined and premium cars and the A3 Sportback is no different offering stand-out design and luxury.

Even in SE trim you can expect a high-quality interior, comfortable surroundings as well as some impressive kit including a multimedia system displayed on a slim screen which hides under the dashboard when the engine is turned off.

Price: from £20,725

CO2 Emissions: 123g/km

Fuel Economy: 53mpg

Boot Space: 380 litres

Power: 120bhp


Peugeot 308

Peugeot 308


Best for: Value

Trim: Active 1.6 THP

Brand new for 2014, order books are now open for the French firm’s next generation version of its popular family hatchback.

When it comes to kit the Peugeot 308 is an impressive proposition, especially when you consider the price.

Standard specification for the Active trim includes DAB radio, Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, dual air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, electric handbrake and leather interior touches.

Our car of choice also offers plenty of performance with 125bhp, while still keeping running costs low with 50mpg as the official combined figure and CO2 emissions of 129g/km.

Price: £17,145

CO2 Emissions: 129g/km

Fuel Economy: 50mpg

Boot Space: 470 litres

Power: 125bhp

Want to know more?

Read our top tips on how to choose your next family car here

Fancy something with a bit more grunt? Find out our top ten hot hatchbacks here